Former Southampton vice-president Les Reed has told The Transfer Tavern that the club made an enquiry to sign Naby Keita before his move to Liverpool.
The Saints did business with the RB group before attempting to sign Keita, as they lured Sadio Mane to the club.
Should Keita be sold?
Liverpool paid £34m to sign the Senegal international from Saints and Reed says that his success ultimately inflated the price of any deal for Keita.
The Reds paid £48m to secure the signing of the midfielder when they snaffled him away from Leipzig, and Reed believes the RB group have the development and sale of players down to a fine art.
Keita has actually struggled during his time at Liverpool, making a maximum of 25 appearances in the Premier League over the past three seasons.
Speaking exclusively to TT, he said: “We made enquiries about Naby Keita after Sadio. And that then doubled, it was kind of, you blew us out of the water with Sadio and we’re not letting that happen again.
“I had quite a good relationship with Ralf Rangnick, he’s a proper negotiator, but I think Red Bull wised up. And then the Red Bull empire grew and it was like having four Ajax’s rather than one, if you like, and they really got onto the recruitment of young players, the development of young players, and selling them on for a profit really, really well, almost machine-like.
“And that put the prices up for them, so that was one area.”
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